Peaceful Demonstration Results in 23 Arrests
A demonstration in Ybor City on Tuesday evening ended peacefully and with no injuries or property damage, though 23 demonstrators were arrested when they refused to leave a roadway where they were blocking traffic.
After being allowed to block the roadway for a short time, the demonstrators were notified three times - in English and in Spanish - that if they didn't clear the road they would be arrested. Most moved to the sidewalk. The 23 who remained in the roadway were arrested without incident. As this is being written most of the arrestees had been given a Notice to Appear and were released on their own recognizance.
The demonstration, organized around an appeal for an increase in the minimum wage, began marching from Centennial Park after 5 p.m., headed toward 7th Avenue. Then demonstrators marched down 22nd Street. As they have at all the recent protests, Tampa Police successfully worked to ensure the safety of the demonstrators and to minimize traffic tie ups. Just short of Interstate 4, the demonstrators turned west to 21st Street, and it was there that many sat down blocking the road.
Tampa Police explained to the organizers that they could not continue to block the road. At 6 p.m., TPD communicated the first of three notifications, in English and in Spanish, that they should clear the roadway. When the arrests began, the 23 arrestees stood. None resisted. There was no violence.
After the demonstration returned to the park, some demonstrators thanked officers for keeping them safe and offered officers bottles of water.